Behold, an actual travel post on a travel blog! To be fair, this blog has been a about a lot more than travel over the years, and sometimes about nothing at all as I take long hiatuses from writing anything. It is a pretty accurate reflection of my mind state through various periods in my life. But I just realized that although I have written a lot of stuff about my emotional state through a rather tumultuous time, I haven’t written much about the cool things I have been getting up to. So, what have I been getting up to since leaving Mexico?
Well it of course started with a trip to London to get my ducks in a row, my ducks decidedly did not get in a row, but I had time to reflect and begin getting back into shape, and I even went into London and had a look around a few times, not many times because it was cold as fcuk and after spending a few years in the tropical climes of Mexico and its neighbours, London weather was hard to get used to, but, it was interesting to get back into a culture I have been away from for years and see what it was like, it was alright, if you’re into that sort of thing.
While in London I decided I needed a break, and so an impromptu out of nowhere trip to Croatia ensued. I am not sure why Croatia, I kinda just Google Mapped a few places and picked one at random, bought a return ticket, booked a couple nights and left it at that. As it turned out, Croatia was great for me. It was the beginning of a journey which saw me reaching out more to people when on the road, and as such some revelatory and very enjoyable meetings ensued. I met people who caused enough of a deviation on my established path to potentially change the way I travel, and I am always happy to be shown the error of my ways when it leads to so much good stuff.
I spent most of my time in Dubrovnik, where I found out they shot a lot of Game of Thrones. It speaks volumes about how much research I didn’t do that this was a complete surprise to me. They also happened to be setting up a shoot for Star Wars while I was there and so I got in for a sneaky selfie, although in truth I don’t think anyone gave two shits about photos being taken. No secrets in the age on internet!
The city itself was impressive, and at that time of year deserted. If it wasn’t for some chance meetings I think I would have been pretty isolated, but when you open yourself up to chance meetings, you very seldom end up alone. I did however get bored and so ended up taking a couple days out and heading to Montenegro to see more stuff. It was strange crossing a border where no one really seems to care if you come or go, especially after the borders in North and Central America, where they really seem to enjoy making things difficult for you before just throwing you back on whatever mode of transport you happen to be taking with nary a care.
Montenegro was cool, and I actually really enjoyed the small town of Kotor which is similar to Dubrovnik in that it is an old walled city. I had some more great chance encounters with strangers, and here too I seemed to have the city almost to myself, the off season in these places really is the off season.
While there I climbed the old wall and then not knowing what else to do with my day, decided to climb the mountain behind the old wall. About 2 hours later I was sitting on a small ruin staring across an immense valley with a herd of goats, and soaking in where I was and how I got there, and talking to the goats, because they showed an interest.
I had my best meal on this trip in a little butcher just outside of Kotor. Although a butcher they also cook their meat and when I tried to order the already cheap mixed grill, the owner, a delightful fella who I ended up chatting to refused, saying it was too much food for me, and gave me a reduced portion with loads of salad type things, even this I couldn’t finish but I did my damnedest! He also gave me a free shot of something truly horrible tasting which with my inability to handle alcohol meant I left full, tipsy, and happy.
I took a local bus the next day to a village nearby where I could catch a boat to the Island, “Our lady of the rocks”. The story of which is pretty bizarre. Basically someone found an effigy floating in the water, took it as a sign, sunk some shit and built an island on top of that shit, so they could then build a church and put the floating junk in it. The church like everything at this time of year was of course closed, but I wandered around the outside with a group of very friendly Russians who seemed to find me particularly interesting and funny, which is always nice. We kind of chatted, but their English was almost as bad as my Russian. Still it was nice to have another interaction with some friendly people, and the boat man had refused to take me alone so they had been really fortuitous in more ways than one!
I went back to Croatia for a couple more nights and then bid adieu to my short sojourn and a somewhat hesitant hello to London. My time in Croatia was a mix of emotions, but it definitely changed some things about me, and who I thought I was, and put me in good stead for Spain. My last week in London was basically packing and doing at least a little bit of organizing for the trip ahead. I had been waiting to learn to paraglide for what felt like forever, and finally it was here.
I packed my bags, said goodbye to a country which has over the last couple decades had a plethora of highs and lows for me but is responsible for the man I am today, for introducing me to Sarah, and for giving me my initial push to be the nomad and seeker of experience I have become. So it will always reserve a special place in my mind for these gifts it bestowed. Whether I love it or hate it, it was a massive influence.
And now, on to Spain and the awesome adventure that it has become! In the next post that is… 🙂